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Fisker receives $US50 million to help build SUV

New Ocean EV closer to reality as Fisker receives substantial financial injection

10 Jul 2020

CALIFORNIAN electric vehicle start-up Fisker Inc has received $US50 million ($A71.5m) in financing to move to the next stage of developing its all-new Ocean SUV, keeping it on track for a 2022 launch.


The funds, from a private investment company in the US, further confirm Fisker’s plan for the EV SUV and push the Ocean closer to market and into the hands of more than 22,000 people from 116 countries that the company claims have paid a deposit or expressed interest in the model.


Fisker Inc, headed by chairman and CEO Henrik Fisker, has also announced the appointment of key executives. 


These are Burkhard Huhnke as chief technology officer, who was previously vice-president of e-mobility for Volkswagen America and vice-president of automotive at chip-maker Synopses.


The second appointment is Simon Sproule as part-time communications advisor to the CEO. 


Mr Sproule is the vice-president of communications for Toptal, an elite network of the world’s top talent in business, design and technology.


Up until recently, Mr Sproule was chief communications officer at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and had only spent a few months at FCA after previously serving for six years as chief marketing officer and vice-president of Aston Martin Lagonda. 


He is also a former vice-president of marketing and communications for Tesla, and served for about five years as vice-president of global marketing communications at Nissan.


Fisker Inc plans to sell the Ocean SUV from 2022, priced from $A53,624. It will be offered with four different package options to be detailed later this year, and will also be available as a lease from $A542 a month with a $A4290 deposit.


Full specifications of the Ocean are still to be released, although preliminary details point to a driving range of about 450km from an 80kWh battery pack. Solar panels on the roof can help recharge the vehicle’s battery systems and are designed to provide up to 1600km of additional driving range per year. 


Both two- and all-wheel-drive versions will be available, with the electric powertrain offering an output of more than 225kW. An “ultra-high performance” version is also in development, with Fisker targeting 0-60mph (0-97km/h) acceleration of less than three seconds.


Recharging the battery from 15 per cent to 80 per cent capacity is expected to take only 30 minutes when plugged in to a 150kW charger.


Unveiled earlier this year at the CES in Las Vegas, the Ocean also boasts a body that uses recycled plastic from ocean debris, while waste generated during tyre manufacturing will be applied to sections of the interior such as the boot.


The interior is apparently fully vegan, with suede-look material made from recycled plastic, bottles and T-shirts, and carpet derived from abandoned fishing net waste.


The cabin also features a ‘California Mode’ to open all windows and roof panels with one button.


The Ocean measures 4568mm long, 1900mm wide and 1590mm high, making it slightly smaller in stature to the Tesla Model X.


Henrik Fisker came to prominence in 2008 with the Karma concept shown at the Detroit motor show. The car was a hit with the public and the first deliveries were made in 2011.


In late 2012, battery supplier to Fisker, A123 Systems, went bankrupt and Karma production was halted after about 2450 cars were made. 


Fisker abandoned production and, in 2014, Chinese car component manufacturer and the world’s biggest car parts-maker, Wanxiang Group, bought Fisker’s manufacturing plant in Delaware and the Karma design and tooling.


Henrik Fisker retained the brand name and opened as Fisker Incorporated in 2016. The Ocean is its first production model.


Wanxiang, which owned A123 Systems when it went bankrupt, trades as Karma Automotive and since 2016 has built the low-volume Karma Revero plug-in hybrid based heavily on the original Karma.


The assets of A123 Systems were sold in 2018 to Texas-based battery producer LithiumWerks.

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